As Grim Sleeper Murder Trial Nears, Police Can't Find 35 Women in Photos
Illustration by Brian Stauffer
L.A.'s most anticipated criminal trial in years actually looks like it might start soon. The 63-year-old Lonnie Franklin Jr., a one-time city garbageman, stands accused of killing nine woman and a teenage girl in a spate of murders that L.A. Weekly first reported upon and dubbed "the Grim Sleeper" killings. The trial, delayed for years, is now scheduled to begin in 11 days, on Feb. 16.
Nearly 70 people filled out questionnaires to serve on a jury for the trial, which is expected to last up to three months.
LAPD detectives, meanwhile, are still trying to identify 35 women pictured in photographs found at Franklin's house, according to People magazine's Christine Pelisek, formerly of this parish.
Police found more than 1,000 photographs and videotapes of women and teenagers inside his house when they arrested Franklin in 2010. Some showed the women smiling. In others, their eyes were closed, seemingly unconscious.
Initially, LAPD sought the public's help in identifying more than 150 of the photographed women. Now, according to the LAPD website, just 35 women remain unidentified, a troubling mystery unsolved.
Do YOU recognize any of these women?
The individual photos can be found here. Police are still asking for help identifying the last 35 women – anyone wishing to help can call 1-877-LAPD-24-7.
More reporting from Pelisek:
"We don't know who these women are," LAPD detective Daryn Dupree tells People. "We want to make sure these women are OK."
Detectives are particularly interested in finding out the identity of the missing woman listed as No. 117 and No. 171 in the photos released by the police department. Two photos of the mystery woman were found hidden in an envelope inside Franklin's freezer in his garage. Inside the same envelope, detectives also discovered a photo of Franklin's last known alleged victim, 25-year-old Janecia Peters, who was found by a homeless man in a dumpster on January 1, 2007, and a school ID and a driver's license of two missing women who were last seen near Franklin’s home on 81st Street and Western Avenue in 2005.
"We think it was a trophy bag," says Dupree. "We want to know if this person is still alive."
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